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Stars' Jamie Benn Flourishing in Season's Second Half

DALLAS TX - JANUARY 17:  Left wing Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars skates the puck past Rob Scuderi #7 of the Los Angeles Kings at American Airlines Center on January 17 2011 in Dallas Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS TX - JANUARY 17: Left wing Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars skates the puck past Rob Scuderi #7 of the Los Angeles Kings at American Airlines Center on January 17 2011 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Jamie Benn is taking the hockey world by storm, even if he doesn't know it yet.

Indeed, a popular question on the Dallas Stars post game show on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket is "Does Jamie Benn even realize how good he is?" And the response by whichever player being interviewed at the time is usually something along the lines of "Wow, yeah. Isn't he something?"

He's not concerned with any of that. He's quiet, unassuming, and just wants to play the game.

His 30 points in 43 games may not knock your socks off and his -2 may trouble you, but this is one kid (forgive us, he's just 21 years old) that you have to watch to gain an appreciation for, because numbers do not tell the tale. Had we an army of interns and rights to chop up and reproduce gobs of NHL video we would demonstrate and extol the virtues of his considerable and ever expanding skill set, and I'm not even talking about the highlight's you remember.

Those highlights, by the way, are significant in quantity and quality. The young man has only 12 goals on the season and how many of them have been highlight reel quality? A much larger percentage than most in the league, that's for sure.

No, I'm talking about the little things he's doing this year. The forechecking. The takeaways. The forced turnovers. The penalty killing. He's turning into the complete package. I remarked last year in the AHL playoffs, when Benn was sent to the Texas Stars to help take over their world, that he seemed a man among boys, and that quality is starting to show itseld at the NHL level after about 120 games in the league. He's on his way to becoming unstoppable, if he wants to be.

He has points in 10 of his last 14 games and his assist total is only one shy of his output last season, on pace for twice as many in 2010-2011, and it doesn't even matter where he plays. Point to the Ribeiro/Morrow line as a reason for the increase but he moves down with Ott and Burish and produces just the same in the last three games.

Goals Assists Points SOG SOG/G
First 29 Games 7 9 16 61 2.10
Last 14 Games 5 9 14 46 3.28

We said his New Years Resolution should be to shoot the puck more...

Looks like he got the message. Probably from somewhere else, but who cares?

He's a joy to watch and he isn't even the most popular Jamie on the team right now, which, no offense to Mr. Langebrunner and his silver stick, just doesn't make sense. A DBD community member even said they went to have a jersey customized with "BENN" (good choice) and were told they were out of B's.

The implication was that Langenbrunner sales were to blame.

No worries, though. This guy is going to be around for a long time, the ghost of Tom Hicks' ownership willing, and will probably tally quite a few points along the way in addition to selling jersey's.

His future with the club remains uncertain and I don't mean contract-wise. The Jamie Benn at center experiment from a year ago continued in training camp and into the opening two games of the season but then was derailed by a concussion and a slow comeback. Assistant Stu Barnes suggested to Marc Crawford that a move to wing would make that transition smoother and he stayed there for quite a while.

A move to the Ribeiro trio, solidifying two good scoring lines, seemed to end the discussion altogether, but the acquisition of Langenbrunner and the uncertain future of Brad Richards has re-opened the door.

Now the sophomore sensation finds himself between two men in Adam Burish and Steve Ott, that have been sharing center duties for half the season. Benn is allowed to continue his development in that situation while having dynamite faceoff men and hard workers on either side.

If Richards does leave in the summer is Jamie Benn your #2 center? There's so much to come between now and then that it seems a hazy far-off possibility at best but Stars fans should be wary of what's to come after this fun ride is over with.

They should also be pretty confident that Mr. Benn can master any challenge laid before him. Like converting to center.

Or like Cam Barker...